Wednesday, April 1, 2020

At Home Calming Caddies

Social Emotional Learning (SEL) At Home - Tips for Parents

Joyful, confused, worried, happy, sad, frustrated, excited are only the beginning of the many feelings we experience. Our children are learning to identify their feelings, where they feel them in their body and healthy ways to cope with their feelings. It’s important that students learn that all of their feelings are ok.  Students are learning that since they are in control of their thoughts, feelings, actions and they are able to manage their feelings. 

This time at home, as we are experiencing these changes, may include plenty of joy being with our families and more time to be outside, play, read and be creative.  However, it may include uncomfortable feelings too. Some kids might worry about when they will be able to go back to school, will I or a family member get sick, missing their friends, missing their teachers, frustration with assignments, and sibling disagreements.

As kids experience stressors, it is valuable to continue to practice their healthy coping strategies. Encouraging our kids to take belly breaths when we notice an uncomfortable feeling helps to calm their uncomfortable feelings more quickly. As parents, taking the breath with them can also be supportive and helpful. Belly breathing is one way they are learning to cope with the situation in a healthy way.  You may need to review and remind your child to use the strategy. Here is a great resource link called “Just Breathe”: Elementary students are taught emotional regulation skills at school with Second Step, a social emotional learning program. This is a song many of our students know from our elementary that reminds them to stop, name their feelings and calm down.

Sometimes when strong feelings surface, we breathe and may still need a little more time to calm down. When more is needed, At Home Calming Caddies are a great tool to provide just that! An At Home Calming Caddy is a container or basket that is kept in a quiet area that holds tools your child can use to continue to support the healthy regulation of strong feelings. Using the calming caddy is not intended to be a consequence but rather as an opportunity for coaching and encouraging kids to regulate, helping them to manage and return to a calm feeling. 

Some Ideas to be included in your At Home Calming Caddy:
  • Feelings chart- helps your child name the feeling they are experiencing
  • Glitter Jar- Shake up the glitter and watch the glitter settle to the bottom
  • Play dough- to squeeze and sculpt away the strong feeling
  • Stuffed animal to hug and provide comfort
  • Stress ball or make a stress balloon- fill balloons with either rice, sand or flour and then tie it off
  • Crayons/coloring book
  • A book to help relax

After a few minutes calming down, they are ready to learn from and talk about how they came to their strong feelings.

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